My last few days of being pregnant were actually pretty relaxing, except I did call out sick on Monday because my lower back pain was so bad and I needed rest. Now, I think that this may have been the first sign that something was wrong, but even with hindsight I’m not entirely sure. I was in a car accident a few years ago and have a compressed disc in my spine, and I did not start out as slim and trim as I would have liked, so my back pain started early and was pretty steady throughout my pregnancy. I exercised as much as I could throughout, but it was really uncomfortable and I ended up spending the last few weeks sleeping in our guest room because I would toss and turn and never get comfortable, which would keep my poor husband awake all night too.
Luckily for me, I know the wonderful Kym Berrien of Berri Healthy (such a cute name, isn’t it?) who is a licensed massage therapist, doula, and all-around expert on all things pregnancy. We had bartered services, I helped her launch Berri Healthy’s social media program and in return she answered my approximately 8.5 billion questions and scheduled me in for a prenatal massage that was a little slice of heaven. Seriously, if you are expecting, you NEED to take the time to do this. Kym has special cushions like these so you can lay face-down on the table – that alone would have been worth it for a stomach sleeper like me who never got the hang of sleeping comfortably on my side or back when the belly got too big!
And the massage itself was just magic. Relaxing, and the first time my back didn’t hurt in I couldn’t remember how long. Another friend told me that she got a “prenatal massage” that was basically a shoulder rub, in a chair, because the massage therapist didn’t have the special cushions or the training in how to work with a pregnant client. Do not settle for this! If you are unlucky enough to live too far away to go to Kym herself, then make sure you ask questions and get yourself a real prenatal massage from someone who is properly trained.
At the end of our massage appointment, Kym mentioned that she had noticed that PJ was lying transverse – sideways, instead of vertical, like this: (I mentioned this to Paul later, who immediately said “Oh, you mean like an engine!” Mechanical analogies were vital to a shared pregnancy experience!) With what Kym told me and what I found later on the internet, I learned that a transverse baby that doesn’t turn either head down or breech requires a C-section. This made me nervous, and would have made me hysterical if I had known that I was only three days away from PJ’s arrival!